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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ films have been huge hits. Based on the Walt Disney ride, it has amassed a fortune since the first movie in 2003. That’s just as well because it has cost a fortune to make. With gargantuan-sized budgets thrown mostly towards the actors and CGI, they truly embrace the word ‘spectacle’. Every penny of the money spent is clearly seen with its efforts in creating colourful romps obviously appreciated. ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ is in the same vein as it offers glorious entertainment other rivals can’t afford to match.

Still sailing the high seas like a piratical scallywag, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is on a new mission. Discovering an old enemy, Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem) has risen from the depths, Jack is worried. Knowing Salazar tends to kill every pirate at sea, Jack goes in search of an ancient artefact to enable him to defeat Salazar. In his quest, Jack is helped by Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) who is on his own crusade to free his father Will (Orlando Bloom) from a bygone curse. What follows is adventure aplenty among the high seas with Jack’s pirate skills firmly affixed to the mast.

As entertaining as previous entries, the fifth outing for the colourful pirates generally scores. You know what to expect with the series by now which isn’t a bad thing. Those wanting action, romance, dazzling CGI and lashings of humour will find it. It may be looking a little tired around the edges with Depp’s Sparrow now more caricature than true character. But there are a few new wrinkles maintaining freshness. Henry’s journey to re-unite his family ties in well with the film’s overall theme with depth seen in a series not usually known for it.

‘Pirates 5’ is hardly a sombre experience with fun and colour evident. Whilst the zippy energy of initial outings feels lost, the performers never over-play the humour in spite of their cartoonish roles. Unlike the previous film Sparrow doesn’t dominate proceedings which allow other characters to come to the fore. This is a wise move as it makes the film different with the CGI out-doing itself. The pacing is occasionally sluggish but the visual feast displayed ensures the story maintains engagement until its soggy conclusion.

An entertaining slice of expensive escapism, ‘Pirates 5’ does exactly what the posters promise. It might not rank among the best but it offers a grandiose epic one expects. Although things are neatly wrapped up another outing wouldn’t be amiss with the pirate’s flag showing little sign of flaying.

Rating out of 10: 6

Baywatch

‘Everything old is new again’ is a term to which Hollywood subscribes. Nothing is ever discarded with old ideas re-heated for new generations. Television has provided an abundance of material for films to plunder. An unlikely candidate is the 90’s series ‘Baywatch’. Featuring beefed up dudes and scantily clad ladies, ‘Baywatch’ was a huge hit and gave actor David Hasslehoff another shot at stardom. It was also a creative abyss with the writing and acting low on the radar. Nevertheless it leaps from beach to screen in all its gaudy sun-kissed glory with its tacky surface complete.

The Baywatch squad is an elite team of lifeguards ready for action. Roaming the beach ensuring beach-goers’ safety is ensured, the squad’s leader Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) maintains a strict regime. His efforts quickly become undermined by new recruit Matt Brody (Zac Efron) whose free-wheeling attitude annoys Mitch. They don’t have long to argue when a body washes ashore. Discovering the deceased was part of an enormous drug trafficking ring, Mitch and his team aim to clean the beaches of this noxious form of human seaweed.

‘Baywatch’ continues the trend of re-imaging TV shows as comedies by ramping up the kitsch factor. It never takes itself seriously like the occasionally over-earnest TV series with crude gags on high rotation. The threadbare plot is there to facilitate the next slice of below the belt humour and witty by-play. To its credit the ‘Police Academy’-style screenplay ensures the performers embody their silly characters and gives them something to latch onto. Johnson, Efron and their co-stars throw themselves into the smut with a gusto that’s to be commended.

Seth Gordon directs with a light touch and times the gags well. Pacing is everything in comedies and there’s barely a moment to be bored. There are occasions that are just as appalling as the TV series although anyone expecting an Oscar-worthy movie is watching the wrong thing. ‘Baywatch’ is meant to be dumb, over the top fun and it mostly succeeds. The action sequences are exciting as it mirrors its television forebear well in that area.

Not quite a cinematic abomination, ‘Baywatch’ is dopey entertainment for those liking this type of movie. The cinematography captures the film’s comic-book feel well and the cast are clearly having a good time. Once is enough for this motley crew though as the thought of another sequel would be as bad as hearing original star David Hasslehoff warble another shonky tune.

Rating out of 10: 5